Wednesday, September 27, 2017

WorthyKids/Ideals ~ A Review

My 9 year old daughter enjoyed reading the first two books in The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series by WorthyKids/Ideals. We had the opportunity to read the first two books in the series, The Secret Of The Hidden Scrolls ~ Book One The Beginning and The Secret Of The Hidden Scrolls ~ Book Two Race To The Ark. Your kiddos will enjoy a time traveling adventure with Peter, Mary, and their dog Hank as they travel back in time to familiar stories from the Bible. Together they must search for hidden clues to solve messages on ancient scrolls. These books are targeted for ages 6-9 years of age. The reading level is grades 1-3. 

The Secret Of The Hidden Scrolls ~ Book One The Beginning
This book is 107 pages in length. The biblical events in this story are taken from Genesis chapters 1, 2, and 3 as well as Revelation 12: 7-9. 

My daughter said, "Peter and Mary's mom and dad are going on a trip to Africa and they are going to be staying with their great uncle Solomon. Their dog Hank can tell the time by looking at the sun. Their great uncle Solomon is a archaeologist. Uncle Solomon tells the children that he has spent much of his life traveling around the world and has discovered artifacts that prove the stories in the Bible are true. Hidden Scrolls! It took them back to the beginning of time." 

The children arrive in total darkness and hear the words, "Let there be light." The day ends with God saying, "It is good." The children witness creation. The angel Michael introduces himself as their protector and gives them the rules for their adventure which are: 1) They have 7 days to solve the scroll or be stuck back in time 2) They cannot tell anyone where they are from 3) They cannot try and change the past. 

I don't want to give away any more of the story and spoil it. 

The Secret Of The Hidden Scrolls ~ Book Two Race To The Ark
This book is 118 pages in length. The biblical events in this story are taken from Genesis chapters 4 - 9. 

My daughter said, "Peter and Mary hear a loud roar! They are taken back to the time of Noah's Ark. They have to help fix the ark. There are evil people that they must face. The Dark Ruler gets angry when they talk about God. They meet Shem, Han, and Japheth."

My daughter pretty much summed it up. Again, the children have to solve the message on the scroll. I don't want to give any more detail and spoil the book.  

My daughter really enjoyed reading these books. She was able to read through them fairly quickly and is excited to read more in the series. 

I would definitely recommend these books to others. The stories are full of adventure and most importantly they are biblically based with scripture passages to refer back to. At the end of each book is a short section giving the book and chapter reference from the Bible where the stories from the book can be found. Great first chapter books for your early readers. 

To read more reviews click here.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Heirloom Audio ~ A Review

My family definitely enjoyed listening to Captain Bayley's Heir from Heirloom Audio Productions I received the physical CD's as well as digital downloads. 

A Grand, American Adventure (CD 1, Track 1)
Our Story Begins In London (CD 1, Track 2)
Captain Harold Bayley (CD 1, Track 3)
The Westminster Boys (CD 1, Track 4)
The Real Fight (CD 1, Track 5)
Harry's History (CD 1, Track 6)
Dismissal (CD 1, Track 7)
America! (CD 1, Track 8)
Abe, Rube, And Dickens (CD 1, Track 9)
Danger On The Trail (CD 1, Track 10)

Indian Attack (CD 2, Track 1)
Disquieting News (CD 2, Track 2)
The Plot Thickens (CD 2, Track 3)
Prospecting (CD 2, Track 4)
Pay Dirt, Gentlemen (CD 2, Track 5)
Amazing Grace (CD 2, Track 6)
The Shootout (CD 2, Track 7)
Frank, The Hero (CD 2, Track 8)
Investigation and Exoneration (CD 2, Track 9)
More Stories To Be Told, More Adventures To Be Had (CD 2, Track 10)

G.A. Henty, dubbed history's master of storytelling, brings history alive in his books of daring adventures. Heirloom Audio Productions philosophy of a Christ-centered history is refreshing amidst a world of humanistic thinking. Heirloom Audio truly brings history to life. As you listen to the story unfolding you feel like you are really living the adventure. Heirloom's Audio Drama's together with Henty's great books make for an engaging way to learn history. The audio dramas are a collaboration of creative storytelling, gifted orators/actors, realistic sound effects, and amazing composed music to make for a captivating historical drama. 

What is Captain Bayley's Heir about?
18 year old Frank, who is falsely accused of a crime, theft, that he did not commit, or at least we are lead to believe. With the help of a friend Frank decides to flee to America decides to pursue to Gold Rush instead of sticking around until he can be publicly convicted. Captain Bayley, Frank's uncle, and Alice, are left behind grieving his departure. There is plenty of exciting drama listening to stories and tales and times of the gold rush. I hate to give away too much of the story and be a spoiler. I will say that the ending turns into a wonderful story of redemption. 

Some historical events, people and topics discussed in Bayley's heir are:
  • British Constitution
  • Clipper Ships & Common Ships
  • Consumption
  • Wagon Trains
  • Indian Attacks
  • Prospecting

This audio adventure is 2 1/2 hours in length. Along with the CD's the following were included in the form of downloads:
  • MP3 Download
  • E-Book or read online
  • MP3 Soundtrack
  • Printable Cast Poster
  • Study Guide and Discussion Starter
  • Inspirational Verse Poster
  • Desktop Wallpaper Download
  • Official Script Download
I have created binders with all of the study guides for the many Heirloom Audio Adventures that we have collected. After printing the guides out I put the pages in protective sleeve covers. Since printing these colorful guides can get a bit expensive placing the pages in protective sleeves ensures that over the years as my children listen to the Audio Adventures the guides stay in perfect condition. If printing is not an option, viewing the pdf format online is a great option as well. The guide is professional looking easy to follow. 

Study Guide
The study guide is a FABULOUS complement to the audio drama CD's. I found the study guide to be extremely helpful in discussing the story with my children. The study guide is set up to aid the younger student in understanding the story as well as challenging the older student at a deeper level. The study questions are divided into three sections.

The Listening Well - focuses on what was heard

The Thinking Further - challenges the child to think, draw conclusions, and speculate

The Defining Words - defining unfamiliar vocabulary

The study guide which is available via computer download is great for a wide range of ages. For the younger child there are vocabulary words to define and for the older child there are great discussion questions. Many times, after listening to the Heirloom Adventures, it has sparked further discussion and interest in periods of history that likely would have been overlooked.

Expand Your Learning
In the Expand Your Learning sections my kiddos learned some very interesting facts. Did you know that many mining towns dealt with exorbitantly high prices for common household items such as eggs? For instance, a single egg could be sold for as much as $20! The drastic increase in population in these mining town lead to price gouging, attacks, disease, and great risk. People came from South America, Mexico, Europe, and China in search of gold in America. Little did they know how hard it would be. Once they landed they would have to journey inland hundreds of miles to reach their mining destinations. Using a map you can trace the journey that various individuals might have had to take in order to reach a mining destination. This is also a great opportunity to discuss the hardships that travelers would have faced along the way. 

At the end of each Heirloom Adventure there is a short Bible Study section that is definitely worth working through. 

Live the Adventure Club is a community forum as well as a treasure trove of extra resources, games, and extras for the whole family. Your child can take online quizzes, print out coloring pages, solve word searches, and so much more. You and your child can follow along using a copy of the actual audio drama script! Don't want to print out the study guide, no problem. You can download the guide in a friendly pdf version. Teachers and parents can search through the teachers resources to find enrichments to go along with each audio adventure. I love this new addition. My kiddos love to get on and eagerly complete each activity relating to the audio drama that we are currently listening to. 

Summing It Up
Like all of all of the other audio adventures produced by Heirloom Audio this one did not disappoint! I would highly recommend Heirloom Audio to everyone of all ages. I have had the privilege of reviewing The Cat of BubastesThe Dragon And The RavenWith Lee In VirginiaIn Freedom's CauseIn The Reign of Terror and Beric The Briton. I would highly recommend these audio adventures. 

To read more reviews click here. 

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Banned or Challenged Book Week 2017

Many books on the banned or challenged list are classics. I for one make sure that my kids read all of them before they graduate from high school. One of the great privileges of homeschooling is that I am able to expose my children to great literature! Those banned or challenged books include...

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Call of the Wild

The Catcher in the Rye

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Gone With the Wind

The Grapes of Wrath

The Great Gatsby

The Jungle

Moby Dick

The Red Badge of Courage

The Scarlet Letter

To Kill A Mockingbird

Uncle Tom's Cabin

The Chocolate War

Of Mice and Men

The Giver

The Bridge to Terabithia

The Kite Runner

The Great Gilly Hopkins

Summer of My German Soldier

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

A Day No Pigs Would Die

A Wrinkle In Time

Julie of the Wolves

I am saddened by the lack of classic literature read in the public school systems today. It is sad that many of the great classics are overlooked for newer books that are thought to be more relevant and better. Not true! You haven't experienced a great book until you have read Jane Eyre and experienced the pages of Pride and Prejudice. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fall 2017

Autumn Rain
The plane leaves

fall black and wet
on the lawn;

the cloud sheaves

in heaven’s fields set
droop and are drawn

in falling seeds of rain;

the seed of heaven
on my face

falling — I hear again

like echoes even
that softly pace

heaven’s muffled floor,

the winds that tread
out all the grain

of tears, the store

in the sheaves of pain

caught up aloft:

the sheaves of dead
men that are slain

now winnowed soft

on the floor of heaven;
manna invisible

of all the pain

here to us given;
finely divisible
falling as rain.

by DH Lawrence

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Let's Go Geography ~ A Review

Let's Go Geography is an online K-4th grade Geography curriculum. Each lesson in Let's Go Geography  is full of activities, crafts, links to videos, pictures, engaging online content, and optional library books that will enrich your study along the way. Your child will tour the world country by country, continent by continent. 

Going into this review I was so excited about diving into all that Let's Go Geography has to offer students. Well, part of homeschooling is working around what life throws us and boy has life thrown me a curveball over the past month. About a month ago I had minor surgery but ended up having MAJOR complications! Well, that definitely affected our homeschool routine and my lofty plans for everything I wanted to do enrichment wise to go along with this curriculum. I am not have utilized everything in the Let's Go Geography weekly curricula but I will say that what my kiddos did get was great. They learned so much and it required nothing on my part. 

I used this with my 4th and 6th graders. I know that 6th grade was out of the suggested range but decided that since I was laid up it wouldn't hurt to have her glean what tidbits of informations she could from the curriculum. While I didn't use the full extent of the curricula the whole time my kiddos were able to explore countries and do most of the activities. Kiddos are pretty savvy technology wise and are able to navigate, print, and download on their own. I was a bit apprehensive about them navigating outside of the site though. 

Each weeks lesson is clearly laid out in an easy to follow format with instructions and links. Students are instructed to print out maps, flags, and various activities. For the activities a list is given for the materials that you will need. 

Throughout the lesson your child will explore the many amazing animals, beautiful landscapes, its people, and their culture that makes each country unique and special. There are so many links that your child will be able to click to explore outside of the site to enrich their learning experience. Crafts give them the opportunity to be creative while learning about something relevant to that particular country. Students will also be given the opportunity to write about each country. 

Many of the links are to YouTube. We personally did not have any issues with the links. With that said I always caution parents to please supervise children when letting children use sites such as YouTube. 

There are many other links to other sites outside of Let's Go Geography. 

I will say that it most definitely does not take a week to complete a lesson. When my daughters were just doing the watching parts of the lessons they got it done in no time flat. We have completed a full lesson with all components and it was more of a two day at the most lesson. Stretching it out over a week would have been way too chopped up. I can see that maybe for K-1 grade this may be a great set-up but for upper grades not so much. 

After watching some of the video's my daughter did say, "Some of the videos are like they are trying to sell you a vacation to the country." Since many of the video links are from YouTube there are some that tend to be on the touristy side. 

There are some videos that are specifically labeled for the older students. This video 
was about the history of Belize. 

After coloring their backgrounds by daughters decided that they no longer liked the way their armadillos looked so they turned them around and colored the other side. 

One of my daughter's used crayon to create her armadillo craft. 

My other daughter used watercolor paints for her armadillo. 

Here is a great lay-out of a 3-year plan to over all of the 7 continents using Let's Go Geography.

Overall I was pretty happy with Let's Go Geography. Basing this on my 4th graders progress through the lessons I think that more content needs to be added to truly make this a weeks worth of curriculum for grades 2-4. This would be a great supplement but I would most definitely not consider it a full geography curriculum. I also am not too crazy about utilizing YouTube videos for kiddos in the elementary ages as content on the pages can sometimes be sketchy. I think that Let's Go Geography has the start of something good I just think that they need to add more content. Definitely check out their site. Like I always say, what doesn't work for one family sometimes is the perfect fit for the next family. With that said, I do intent to continue to use Let's Go Geography with my 4th and 6th graders because they both really enjoy it and I know that they are learning. 

To read more review click here.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Barbour Publishing ~ A Review

Imagine...The Great Flood By Matt Koceich  from Barbour Publishing is written for kids ages 8-12 and is the first book in Koceich's epic series. The Imagine series aims to bring the Bible to life as it relates everyday events that children experience as they imagine what it would be like to live through exceptional events in Biblical times. In Imagine...The Great Flood we follow Corey as he experiences the adventure and excitement of Noah's Ark. This book is 112 pages in length. 

"We just have to be obedient and not lose faith. No matter how difficult it gets, we must never stop believing that the Lord is who He says He is."

Corey hits his head and wakes up 2400B.C..

Just as Noah and his family had to fight the giants, also know as Nephilim, Corey had to fight the fears that he faced about moving from Texas to Florida. 

Corey helps Shem, Ham, and Japheth gather the animals before the big flood. People are mocking Noah for building an ark, likewise Corey thought it was crazy that his family had to move across the country when things were great where they were at. The unknown was scary. Corey didn't want to move. As Corey continued to help gather animals into the ark and battle the Nephilim Corey realized that his faith had been in himself. He wasn't looking to see what God had and what God could do. When faced with the Nephilim about to crush him it would only be God who could save him. 

As the story intensifies Corey begins to see how putting his faith in God in all things, even when he couldn't understand the reasoning is the right thing to do. In a particularly desperate situation Corey recounts a situation his grandfather was in as he sees no way out of his current situation. 

My 11 year old daughter said, "This book was really, really good! I read it in one day. I cannot wait until the next book in the series comes out. Kind of like Corey change is hard for me. I have anxiety and worry a lot. I need to remember to put my faith in God because He really does know what is best for me. I forget that." 

How will the story end. Will Corey get back home? Will his faith remain strong? Will he see God's plans are truly the best plans for us? What does Corey learn for his time with Noah and his family? Grab a book and find out!

This book was definitely a great read. I would highly recommend this book to others. I actually enjoyed reading the book myself. I definitely think that the suggested age range could be expanded both ways. This would be a great book to read aloud to younger children and I also think that older children would enjoy this book as well. Get biblical truths are gained and reinforced which individuals of any age can most definitely benefit from. Great biblical fiction. I cannot wait for my kiddos to read the next book in the series Imagine...The Ten Plagues coming March 2018!

To read more review click here.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

What My 6th Grader Has Been Reading

When the new school year started my 6th grader came to me and asked me what book she wanted me to have her read. I perused the bookshelves and grabbed one of my favorite books that I thought that she was finally old enough to read. She loved it so much. She asked me if she could read more books on China. I began pulling all of the books that I had on China both history and historical fiction. I decided to made her 6th grade year a study on China. I love that homeschooling allows the freedom to explore areas of study as they come along such as this one did. We plan to explore China's geography, culture, history, language, foods, etc.. The book that set of this interest was.....

After reading this book my daughter was in utter disbelief and heartbroken by the tradition of foot binding. She fought back tears many times throughout the book. Next, I gave her a more challenging book. I was very unsure if she would be up to the challenge as it is a high school level book and has a lot of very graphic content. Since it is a classic and she is a very strong reader I decided to give it to her. Well, she blew me away. She read this book in 4 days and LOVED IT!

Here are the other books that I have pulled out of my treasure trove of books. More will be added as the year progresses. I cannot wait to see what she has read by the end of the year and the knowledge she has acquired. 

Confetti Eggs